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Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Artist (2011)

In 1927 Hollywood, a matinee idol (Jean Dujardin, winner of the 2011 Cannes film festival best actor award for his work here) and a bit player (Berenice Bejo) share an attraction to each other. But as silent cinema makes the transition to talking pictures, his career declines while she rises to stardom. 2011 has been a wonderful year for the movies but I can honestly say that no other film I've seen this year has given me such pure, unadulterated pleasure. Director Michel Hazanavicius has given a gift to cineastes everywhere. In his loving homage to silent cinema, Hazanavicius has actually given us a true silent film sans dialogue and shooting it in black and white and the old Academy 1.33 aspect ratio and the film's score is in monaural sound. The film has genuine wit as well as moments of pure poignancy and pathos. Dujardin is superb, looking and acting as if he stepped right out of a 1927 film. The film is immeasurably aided by Ludovic Bource's stunning wall to wall score which, if there's any justice, should get the 2011 Oscar for best film score. One scene that is scored with Bernard Herrmann's Scene d'Amour from VERTIGO just about breaks your heart. With John Goodman, Malcolm McDowell, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle, Ed Lauter, Beth Grant and Uggie, a Jack Russell terrier that should (seriously) get a best supporting actor nomination. Go!

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